Dogs and Car Trips: How to Avoid Pet-Related Accidents

Most dogs enjoy the occasional car ride. He may like to hang his head out the window or take in the sights from the windshield. Either way, failing to use proper safety precautions puts both you and Fido at risk. Just like you wouldn’t allow your infant to ride without the appropriate safety restraints, your pet shouldn’t ride loose either. There are a number of ways to keep your dog safe while traveling in the car.

Back Seat Rides

Pets should never be placed in the front seat when you are driving a vehicle. During a car accident or at a sudden stop, pets riding in the front can be thrown against the windshield, causing unnecessary injury. Pets can also interfere with your ability to drive, falling onto the gas or brake pedals or climbing onto your lap, obstructing your visibility. Unless you have a cargo area, settle Fido down in the back seat.

Proper Restraints

Dogs should not be allowed free-roam of your vehicle. An unstrained pet is a driving hazard and therefore, should always be restrained when the vehicle is in motion. Consider a sturdy pet carrier that is properly secured in the back of your vehicle, unable to flip or fly forward in case of an accident. Pets can also be restrained using a pet seatbelt, pet crate, travel harness or other appropriate barrier device.

Window Treatment

Your pooch may love the ‘window treatment’, but allowing your dog to stick his head out the window is rarely a good idea. The nose, eyes and ears of dogs are highly sensitive. While Fido may not seem bothered by the intense winds that hit his face, he could suffer from skin irritation and exposure to UV light. Dogs may also jump from the window for any given reason, causing an accident or injury to your beloved pet.

Safety Tips & Tricks

Keeping Fido safe and happy is understandably your main concern during travel. To avoid car accidents, keep a good eye on your pet while he’s in the backseat. Tell your well-behaved pet that he is being good to help calm his nerves. If you plan to travel a long distance, bring a food and water dish, as well as a first aid kit for both human and pet injuries. Be sure to keep your eyes on the road as well.

Pay attention to your surroundings as you drive, as even a few seconds of not paying attention can result in an accident. Keep the windows up, the cool air on and secure your pet so that he is unable to hit buttons for the vehicle’s mirrors, windows or other controls. If your pet is in need of your attention, never try to drive and take care of your pet at the same time. Pull over in a safe area to care for your pet.

Pets are a common cause of car accidents when they are not properly restrained. Fido can still enjoy the ride in the back seat while you maintain your spot unprovoked in the driver’s seat. When driving with pets in the car, consider these simple tips to avoid an unnecessary accident.

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